We stepped out of the car and into a gathering storm. The sky was two parts grey, one part yellow. A grey so dark it verged on black lined the top third of the canvas and bled down into a lighter grey, the grey of a dolphin's coat. A swath of yellow too sallow for a sunset anchored the two greys to the horizon.
I glanced at my boy, who once desperately feared thunderstorms. "Cool sky," I observed, poking the patient to gauge his response. "Yeah," he assented. Then: "How would you spell 'yeah,' Mom?" "'Y-E-A-H,'" I recited. "That's how I spell it, too," he said. "That way, or sometimes just 'Y-E-A.'"
We entered the restaurant as I marveled over his nonchalance. He's no longer afraid of thunderstorms, a fact to be filed. And did you notice? It's 'Mom' now, never again 'Mommy,' not even in private.
We ordered our meals, which arrived promptly. He exclaimed over the food: "I don't know if it's because I'm really hungry from camp, or because this food is so good, but I have to say that this is the best meal I've ever eaten!" As if to prove the point, he proceeded to clean his plate, something he rarely does at home.
"Well!" he grinned, bright and satisfied, full belly and all, "How was your day? Is your ear bothering you less?"
Whereupon I reported on my day and my ear, finishing with, "You know, you are a charming dinner companion."
And he was.
By the time we left the restaurant the storm had passed. One half of the sky was straining to be sunny, the other still brushed in grey. "This is exactly the right weather for rainbows!" I gasped. "Let's see if we can spot one."
As I drove home he craned his neck obligingly, the better to see the sky. I thought I could make out the beginnings of a rainbow. I told him where to look, but he saw nothing, and teased me: "Aww, you're just inventing one, Mom."
But soon. "Look left!" I cried. "In the middle of that big cloud."
A rainbow, a proper one this time, its full complement of colors on display. A rainbow an eleven-year-old could, and did, verify.
"Whoa, Mom," breathed my boy, "it's almost as if you made it happen." For a moment he sounded younger than his years, and I remembered: eleven years old, when you are old enough to call your mother 'Mom' and serve as her charming dinner companion, but also young enough to believe that she might still carry a tiny bit of magic in her pocket.